Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 23, 2013

element14 Selects Two Winners of 'Get Closer' Wearable Tech Challenge

Back in August, element14 — the an information portal, collaborative community and electronics store geared toward electronic design engineers — announced that it had chosen eight competitors out of 121 entrants as finalists for its “Get Closer” Wearables Challenge. This contest challenged design engineers and hobbyists alike to design a wearable device of some sort using the Adafruit FLORA platform and document their progress on the element14 community.

Now element14 has selected two winners from those eight global finalists. The winners both created interesting and unique wearable technology projects with entirely different goals.

First up, Leslie Birch of Philadelphia developed an umbrella with LED neopixel strips. The umbrella features three modes: color match, which uses sensors to match colors with the user; a multi-colored rainbow display; and a simulated rainfall.

Linda Kaspers of the Netherlands, on the other hand, submitted ColorCam, a camera that can help children learn colors as well as recognize the colors of various objects. Put simply, when a picture is taken of one of the accompanying felt pictures — which depict, for example, a red strawberry or yellow sun — the camera then displays three color choices on its rear display for children to choose. Choosing the correct color will cause the camera to display green lights.

"Watching the finalists' projects evolve was fascinating, and we're thrilled with what they were able to develop," said element14’s Global Head of Community Dianne Kibbey in a statement. "While Linda and Leslie were selected as the winners, we believe every participant exhibited creativity, technical savvy and commitment throughout this Challenge, and we'd like to congratulate everyone on what they accomplished."

Other concepts submitted in the top eight included a navigation glove, a selection of suits made of colored strobe LEDs, and a hat with embedded GPS capabilities that shows neopixel displays to represent places visited. All entrants of the “Get Closer” Challenge documented their progress via blog posts, videos and design images.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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